Ipswich Jets chairman Steve Johnson
Ipswich Jets chairman Steve Johnson Sarah Harvey

Jets and Broncos talk 'perfect fit'

A PROPOSED feeder club relationship between the Ipswich Jets and the Brisbane Broncos has been hailed as "a perfect fit" that would secure the future of the code in the city until a home grown NRL club becomes a reality.

Ipswich Jets chairman Steve Johnson said Mayor Paul Pisasale and Broncos CEO Paul White had a "love-in" where they discussed the proposed partnership which would see the Jets, Ipswich Rugby League (IRL) and juniors involved.

The QT understands that Jets CEO Brad Wolens and Broncos football operations manager Andrew Gee have also held discussions about making the relationship a reality.

"There has been an ongoing dialogue between the Broncos, the Jets and the city of Ipswich towards creating the partnership. Under Paul White's leadership, the Broncos have embraced a whole of game vision we share at the Jets," Johnson said. "There is a synergy with that. But on top of that we are one of the strongest breeding grounds in rugby league.

"We have our own aspirations to play in the NRL but if our players can stay in Ipswich and play in the NRL through the Broncos and have that clear pathway, we will always have a strong and sustainable Ipswich rugby league, which is important to us all."

Johnson said the fact that Ipswich had produced such Broncos legends as Allan Langer, Kerrod Walters and Steve Walters made Brisbane a favourite club for many league fans in the region.

"When your favourite son (Langer) leaves the city and remains with a club like Brisbane, you have that natural affinity immediately. Alfie and Kevvie are icons of Ipswich and Alfie played his whole career, except for a stint at Warrington, at the Broncos.

"It goes beyond just that because it gives our young players a direct pathway, aspirations to succeed in the game and the knowledge that they can stay at home with mum and dad and become better people because of it. It fits our model totally."

Johnson has told the QT previously that Brisbane had been cautious about forming too many partnerships with Intrust Super Cup clubs because they did not want to spread their surplus players too thin across the various sides. The Broncos already have Wynnum-Manly, Redcliffe and Norths Devils as feeder sides. But Johnson said the Jets, who were previously in a feeder club relationship with the Titans, would not look to cannibalise the Broncos players. "If we formed a partnership with the Broncos, it would be a feeder club relationship of sorts.

"The Jets focus will be getting our players into the NRL, not trying to get second tier players back from the Broncos."

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